• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exploring the City of the Sun God

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Vinculus has just finished his time in Egypt and is ready to move on to Romania. I found the the City of the Sun God to have a very different feel to the Scorched Desert, despite them both being set in Egypt. It was darker (in atmosphere as well as geography) and with a more epic story that also managed to be more personal at the same time. I loved it, and ended up preferring it to the Scorched Desert.

The Black Pyramid and the black sun of Aten towers over the zone.
My initial impressions were not quite so good. The darker flavour of the zone came as a bit of a jolt after the sun-drenched dunes of the desert and the pale walls of al-Merayah, and at first glance the zone appeared to be much less open, with more tunnelling of content in narrow canyons and high mountainous ledges. I found this to be deceiving though, and ended up finding many shortcuts across the zone by jumping up and across the rock walls. It was however much less open than the other zones I had played in the game so far.

The main storyline to the zone concerns the efforts of the Sentinels to check the rising power of Akhenaten the Black Pharoah, who is trying to raise the Aten from it's slumber. The Sentinels themselves are odd characters, and for a long while the voices of children with English accents coming out of small stone statuettes seemed a little jarring, though I did enjoy the interplay between them.

Their true nature didn't really become obvious to me until I had completed the Investigation mission, The Binding (surely one of the best missions in the game). It may have had more of an impact as it was the last mission in the zone that I did, but when the true nature of the Sentinels dawned on me I finally realised what a sad and dark story was behind them. It had been hinted at before, but only then did I realise that these were the spirits of real children who had been murdered by their father, as sacrifices in a ritual to protect Egypt from the Black Pharaoh.

All of the prior interplay between the Sentinels and their father (Ptahmose, the high priest of Amun) suddenly felt a lot more melancholy and meaningful. Ptahmose's conversations with his children, the gifts and stories he brought for them, and the love with which he spoke to them, really highlighted the unimaginable sacrifice he had made for the good of his land. I though this whole storyline and the way it was uncovered was really excellent storytelling. It was done with great subtlety, revealing itself as I journeyed through the zone, and really made me feel for the characters involved.

There were again many great quests in the zone, but I think The Binding was my favourite. It was by far the most difficult Investigation I've done so far, and took me several days to figure out. I ended up having to screenshot the zone map, print it out, then scribble lines over it as I looked for the intersecting points that would locate the parts of Amun's staff of power.

The map I used for The Binding, including my scribbles
So then, it's farewell to Egypt for now. I still have a few unanswered questions, like what Berihun was up to, but perhaps the answers will become apparent with time (or maybe not, this is a game that refuses to spell things out!). For now Vinculus is headed back to London before travelling on to Transylvania.

Here are a few screenshots of my time in the City of the Sun God; a place of dark, epic stories, fiendish puzzles, an epic battle against a rising evil, and a heartbreaking family tale.














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